Planning a winter visit in the USA can be exciting, but with so many places to choose from, it could take time to decide where to go. A lot of the decisions will be based on personal preference. That’s why this list contains a variety of places that appeal to different tastes and temperature preferences. From the Florida Keys to Colorado and New Hampshire, these are 10 of the most gorgeous cities to visit in winter in the USA. Whether you are looking for quiet, remote places like Lyme, busy cities like Washington, D.C., or dry weather in Albuquerque, there are many exceptional options when choosing where to go in the USA in winter.
Asheville, North Carolina
Located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, few places are as gorgeous in the winter as Asheville. Plus, the people of this western North Carolina city are some of the nicest you will ever meet. You can find exceptional views from at least a dozen locations, such as Black Balsam Knob, Devil’s Courthouse, Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower, or Rough Ridge (Grandfather Mountain), just to name a few. Unlike the hustle-and-bustle of cities like Washington, D.C., or even Austin, Asheville is a city for travelers and explorers who want to slow down and relax but still have access to fine dining, shopping, and other cultural experiences.
Lyme, New Hampshire
Located not too far from Dartmouth College in nearby Hanover, Lyme is the kind of place where you can wake up and feel like you’re still dreaming. Check out Loch Lyme Lodge, a lakeside cabin resort on Post Pond. Time seems to stand still in Lyme, which is unlike other mountain locations because even though there are great places to ski, it’s not exactly a tourist spot. It is a quiet, idyllic town to visit if you want to get away and be at peace for a while. If you are feeling more social and want a break from your restful solitude by the lake, then head into nearby Hanover to check out Molly’s Restaurant & Bar, Sugarbush Farm or Marsh – Billings – Rockefeller National Historical Park.
Park City, Utah
If you want to spend some time in a winter wonderland surrounded by powdery snow, then you cannot beat the city that snowboarders and skiers say has “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” There is no view quite like the sight of the mountains. Home of The Sundance Film Festival every January, Park City was also the host of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and the facilities have now been turned into training centers for athletes. Even if you aren’t in town for a special event or intense training, you can enjoy clubs, restaurants, bars, hot springs, hiking, and shopping. Of course, you must get out on the slopes, but if you are not from an area with a lot of opportunities to learn how to ski before your visit, then there is no shortage of instructors who can help you.
Of course, there had to be at least one place on our list that you could visit in winter in the USA if you want to avoid slushy roads, bulky coats and freezing temperatures. If you want to swap out mountain vistas for views of the ocean without getting stuck in traffic, then consider this quiet town located between Everglades National Park and Key West. When you’re sitting along the blue waters’ edge listening to the wind blowing through palm fronds, it’s easy to relax. The Florida Keys do not have beaches because they are islands made of coral, but they are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Dining at Morada Bay Florida Keys and its adjacent Beach Café are a must when visiting Islamorada, but reserving your table at sunset is the best idea. Start your days slowly with a cup of coffee in your hand and your feet in the sand, and let yourself have a slow, relaxing winter vacation.
Another city for the traveler who wants to enjoy warmer weather is Austin where you can find yourself engrossed in a conversation with a kind stranger at an overnight coffee shop. From Austin City Limits to Barton Creek, Austin, Texas is one of the most fun cities in the US to spend your winter. If you’re looking for a laugh, Esther’s Follies is the longest-running musical comedy revues in the nation, or you could visit The Hideout Theatre for an improv show. Although winters in Austin can be surprisingly cold, they are still much warmer than other parts of the country. You will still need to pack a coat for the cooler temperatures, but you can comfortably go out on Sixth Street and check out all the live music venues, or go explore on any of the hiking trails.
No list of beautiful winter getaways is complete without mentioning Colorado. 90 miles north of Denver is the town of Breckenridge. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains and known for its skiing and other outdoor adventures, Breckenridge has some of the most fun and exquisite ski resorts in the US. From November to May, you can enjoy sledding during the day and incredible dining at night. Despite the cold temperatures, you will want to stay outside and take a class on snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding. Sledding is a lot of fun to do with the family as well as your dog. Take a sleigh ride or a guided tour for unforgettable memories.
Home of The Savannah College of Art and Design, this southern coastal town calls to any artist’s soul. Savannah is known for its history and art, and it is where you can find the first museum ever opened by a woman. You can eat at The Pirates’ House, originally established in 1753 as a refuge for weary sailors, to get the real Savannah experience.
Savannah is also known for its ghost tours for those who enjoy late-night folklore and haunted stories. Check out Moon River Brewing Company, one of the oldest and most haunted buildings in America, plus it has great brews to enjoy. Warmer than most other cities on this list, Savannah is a gorgeous place to take in streets lined with trees with Spanish moss, and beautiful architecture.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
If you want to get away from the cold in the winter but still take in gorgeous views of mountains or even do some hiking, then consider Albuquerque. If you love hot air balloon rides, then Albuquerque, New Mexico is a city after your heart. Every October, they hold the International Balloon Fiesta, but you can enjoy a hot air balloon ride anytime of the year. Known as a tech and media hub in the southwest, Albuquerque is also known for its exquisite geography. With unique architecture and museums, this is one of the most lovely cities where you can spend your winter.
Washington DC is known for more than just being the center of political life in the USA. It is famous for its architecture, memorials, museums, dining, and shopping. However, winters in the nation’s capital are some of the most gorgeous. Walk the streets of Georgetown to see historic brick and frame row houses covered in a light layer of snow.
This mid-Atlantic city experiences some snow and the occasional blizzard. Still, for a traveler who is hoping to escape the thicker snow piles in other parts of the nation, Washington, D.C. gets just enough snow to feel like winter without keeping you stuck indoors. Some of the most important and notable buildings or memorials to visit while in Washington, D.C. are:
- The White House
- The U.S. Capitol building
- The Lincoln Memorial
- Washington Union Station
- The Sewall-Belmont House
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Ford’s Theatre
- The Washington Monument
- The National Portrait Gallery
- The Mount Vernon estate, located just south in Virginia
- The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, or more commonly known as Washington National Cathedral
The capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the most charming cities in the US and is renowned for its art, culture, restaurants and nature trails. If you’re looking to travel to a city this winter that is energetic and filled with friendly people, then check out any of Richmond’s live music shows and museums. It’s a lovely city to walk through, with Victorian homes and well-preserved architecture.
No visit to “RVA” is complete without trekking 1.25 miles on The Canal Walk. Richmond is known for its unique charm, which is why it’s one of those cities that visitors like to return to because there’s always more to explore. Plus, there’s a place for every type of person, from serious pinball fans to lovers of independent music venues featuring psychedelic rock musicians to dance lovers who want to catch a performance of The Nutcracker at Richmond Ballet.